Birth of Strategic Partnership between KEMRI & Military
January 24, 2024
Momentous occasion as KEMRI hosts high level meeting
January 30, 2024
Birth of Strategic Partnership between KEMRI & Military
January 24, 2024
Momentous occasion as KEMRI hosts high level meeting
January 30, 2024

Proud Moment as RTS,S Malaria Vaccine Certified by WHO

It’s a proud moment for KEMRI, as World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the use the RTS, S/AS01 (RTS, S) malaria vaccine for the prevention of Plasmodium falciparum malaria amongst children in Cameroon and other nine African countries.

The recommendation follows research findings that were heavily contributed by proficient KEMRI Research scientists who include, Dr. Simon Kariuki, Dr. Lucas Otieno, Dr. Walter Otieno, Dr. Martina Oneko and Dr. Patricia Njuguna formerly of KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Collaborative Program in Kilifi. Among other key researchers with notable contributions include Dr. Bernhards Ogutu and Dr. Samuel Aketch.

The scientists spearheaded a WHO-led pilot implementation programme in Kenya whose implementation started in 2019 to 2021 and involved phased sub-national introduction of the vaccine in areas of moderate-high malaria transmission by respective EPI programs accompanied by rigorous evaluations, led by evaluation (research partners).

The evaluation of two years data from the pilot implementation showed that delivery of the vaccine is feasible within the routine childhood vaccination programme and introduction of the vaccine reduces the number of children who are not using any malaria prevention measures. The pilots also reaffirmed the vaccine’s safety in routine use and its efficacy in reducing incidence of clinical and severe malaria.

As a result RTS, S malaria vaccine was launched on 22nd January, 2024 in Cameroon into its routine national immunization services, becoming the first country to do so outside the malaria vaccine pilot programme that was carried out in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi. The introduction comes as efforts gather pace to scale up vaccination against the disease in high-risk areas in Africa.

Nine African countries are poised to launch the malaria vaccine this year. In addition to Cameroon, Benin, Burkina Faso and Liberia have received the vaccine and are finalizing vaccine rollout plans.

WHO, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, UNICEF and other partners are working closely with the African countries that are introducing the malaria vaccine to ensure delivery and successful rollout of the malaria vaccine.

Malaria burden is the highest on the African continent, which accounted for approximately 94 percent of global malaria cases and 95 percent of related deaths in 2022. There were 249 million malaria cases globally in 2022, leading to 608 000 deaths. Of these deaths, 77 percent were children under five years of age, mostly in Africa.

What they said

“I’m greatly honored to have been part of the RTS,S journey that culminated in the WHO recommendation.
From the phase 3 trial to the pilot evaluation, it was truly an international
collaboration that has added RTS,S and additional
tool to fight malaria.”

Dr. Simon Kariuki

My role in all trials: Study Pediatrician/PI ( in some) Rolling out the malaria vaccine is certainly a step in the right direction and will save many children. However we are not yet where we wanted to be. The fight against malaria
goes on.

Dr. Martina Oneko

Congratulations to the brilliant constellation of malaria research scientists in KEMRI.

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